Sunday night's telecast of the 82nd Academy Awards, in which independent film The Hurt Locker took six awards and beat
out blockbuster Avatar for best
picture and best director, attracted 41.3 million viewers. That was the show's highest total since the
2005 show and bested last year's show by five million viewers.
The primetime portion of the show (8:30-11:39 p.m.) earned a
12.5 rating in the demo, a 12% rise from last year's number, according to fast
affiliate ratings. Last year's show
scored a 12.1 rating in the demo and averaged 36.3 million viewers.
Overall, the awards show averaged a 26.5 rating/40 share in
overnight metered markets. Chicago was the highest-rated market with a 37.6, followed
by West Palm (33.3) and Boston
The show hit a peak in the 8:30 half-hour with 42.1 million
viewers, according to fast nationals.
From 8:30-9:30 it hit a high-water mark in the 18-49 demo of
12.9/30. Barbara Walters pre-show
special, the last Oscar's show for the veteran newswoman, pulled a 4.9/15 in
the opening 7 p.m. hour with 19.2 million viewers and rose to 5.8/17 and 22.7
million in the second half-hour.
It's the second-straight year of ratings increases for the
show. The Oscar's hit a high of 55.2
million average viewers in 1998, when Avatar
director James Cameron's last film, Titanic,
won best picture.